Teaching Strategies: Using Group Work and Team Work

Cooperative learning involves having students work together to maximize their own and one another’s learning (Johnson, Johnson & Smith, 1991). This page provides resources about cooperative learning, designing effective small group activities, and guidance for creating and sustaining effective student learning groups in engineering and lab courses.

CRLT Occasional Paper on Using Teams
This summary of the research covers topics such as designing effective team assignments, forming teams, and assessing student teams. The paper includes numerous examples from U-M faculty. While it is focused on STEM classrooms, the practical advice it contains is relevant to any instructor considering the use of groups or teams

CRLT Bibliography on Cooperative Learning, Group Work, and Teamwork
A comprehensive list of resources on the effectiveness of cooperative learning, group work, teamwork, and best practices. Many of the articles are available to U-M faculty and GSIs. 

The collaborative research model: Student Learning Team in Undergraduate Research (University of Oregon)
Describes a flexible model for collaborative student research in coursework across the curriculum. The foundation of the model lies in its cooperative stance, which supports students in working together toward informed decision making on a common research problem.

Group Work in an Introductory Science Laboratory (Cooper, from Guidebook for Teaching Labs for University of Michigan)
Introductory science laboratories in the university setting often have to rely on the utilization of groups to efficiently use resources that are available. Includes ideas for group work by the students, with small group-instructor interaction, as an effective way to present material in the introductory laboratory.

Facilitating Small Groups: Elements of a Teaching Plan (Stanford University, 1999)
Outlines suggestions for using collaborative tasks to accomplish course goals, including advice on how to avoid potential problems; also includes a brief bibliography on cooperative learning.

Cooperative Learning: Students Working in Small Groups (Stanford University, 1999)

Team work and group work (Michigan Engineering)
Resource from the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering with ideas that may be useful for creating assessable teamwork assignments that foster the learning of teamwork.